Tag Archives: Odd Numbers

New Arts Curriculum Creates Competitive Advantage?

Atkinson and Ivett state that the “Odd Numbers project is designed to give people the opportunity to give life, soul and identity to an inanimate object” and the project “provides the participants with an opportunity to perform an act of giving and of generosity“ (pg.3, 2014). Where and how can such a project inform curriculum? How can “Odd Numbers” inform general curriculum as well as art curriculum? What aspect(s) of this project are we taking into consideration? Do we look at project management skills, fostering social responsibility attitudes, moral ethics, character development and/or critical thinking skills? There are many aspects to take into consideration. If arts curriculum is to focus more on process-oriented skills, will a society that expects creative products value it? How can this process of change be supported? Room 13 (Nesta, 2006) would seem to have found one solution mixing art class with project management and business aspects, but will all school administrations support such a structural and philosophical change? Gustina and Sweet suggest the need for “Creatives” to teach “creativity” (2014), not just in art class but across curriculum as well. They argue that it would support healthier world economies and better business practices. It is suggested that since computers have seemingly taken over the field of logic and math, the driving competitive factor in a company is its innovation and cooperative creative problem solving. They further suggest educational facilities practice the “inclusion of art and design teachers in discussions about meaningful educational practices” (pg.52, 2014). Authors such as economist Theodore Levitt (1986) and management consultant Peter Drucker (1999) have for a long time voiced the value of creative and innovative employees to businesses and governments. Moral Ethics & Character Development Giving life to something inanimate (as in the Odd Numbers project) would seem to fall under what Noddings (2002) would consider Woman`s tradition of caring. To give soul and identity would seem to correspond with developing moral thinkers and carers. Soul, in past societies, seems to have referred to judging moral beauty. Some care theorists argue that judgement is based on one’s personal aesthetics, i.e. what one considers beautiful (Noddings, 2002, Siegesmund, 2010, Sousanis; 2013). Judgement would therefore seem to be one aspect of helping formulate identity. One might then say that to take soulful decisions would require questioning and reflection, which might fall under critical thinking. So, what then is the connection between critical thinking and our moral lives (Noddings, 2002)? Critical Thinking In changing curriculum to support a moral people Noddings suggests that we apply 3 topics; 1)”Love”, 2) “Friendship” and 3)”Women`s traditions” (Pg. 36-37, 2002). She gives excellent examples of how literature, art, math and other areas of study can be modified to fit into these three topics. According to Noddings if we where to “manifest” care into curriculum without “reducing the intellectual dimension” (pg.38, 2002) by focusing on these 3 topics we would could create a more caring (less violent) people. Green suggests that public art projects, such as Odd Numbers creates “methodology that teaches students to confront societal values and beliefs (that) requires critical thinking strategies” (pg. 81,1999). Sousanis (2013) also argues that ownership creates a sense of caring for something. Claire Gibb suggests that the philosophy of Room 13 creates an environment where students “have ownership of the space, they have ownership of the materials they`re using and the equipment that they`re using” (pg.14, Nesta, 2006). So it could be suggested that Room 13 is indeed also practicing a curriculum of care. The Business Side Why should an educational facility create a curriculum of care, and why should art curriculum be used for this? What would be the motivation for a school and its administration to change? Could it be altruism? Could it be economically beneficial for the school and for society? It is an exciting time for change in the arts curriculum but the benefits have to be made clear to parents, administration and community. An arts facility such as Room 13 has the potential to become the competitive advantage a school is looking for. With the proper communication it could increase teacher and student retention and lower costs. It could increase the profit or funding of a school and reduce loss. It could create positive marketing of a school and improve student placement in higher education. It could also create students who are more competitive in the job market reducing unemployment and the social issues attached to that. In the community it would support economy, social interactivity and responsibility increasing the quality of life for all who are connected. Soon we will be looking and Daniel H. Pink (2009, A Whole New Mind) and his concept of how and why conceptual workers will be needed, hired and fought for in the future and how art teachers play a major role in preparing students to meeting these changes. Is it possible that Peter Drucker`s Knowledge Workers will soon be replaced by Pink`s Conceptual Workers?     References Atkinson, N. and Ivett, L. 2014. MAKING MYTHS IN MILTON. [e-book] LoveMilton: pp. 1-5. Available through: UWS, http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/mod/folder/view.php?id=354238 [Accessed: 7 Mar 2014]. Drucker, P. (1999) Knowledge-worker productivity: The biggest challenge. California Management Review, 41 (2), p.79-94. [Accessed: January 23, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 39818809)]. Green, G. 1999. New genre public art education. Art Journal, pp. 80--83. Levitt, T. 1986. The marketing imagination. New York: Free Press NESTA. 2006. Room 13 - A Case Study